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Monica McWilliams

Chief Commissioner, Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission; former Assembly Member of Parliament for South Belfast

Monica McWilliams was appointed chief commissioner for Human Rights in Northern Ireland in September 2006. She is currently on leave from the University of Ulster in Belfast where she is professor of women's studies and social policy. From 1996 to 2003, Professor McWilliams served as an elected representative in Northern Ireland. She played a leading role in the Multi-Party Peace Negotiations resulting in the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. In this capacity, she was involved in negotiations with the governments of Great Britain and Ireland as well as discussions at the presidential level with the United States of America and South Africa. In June of 1998, Professor McWilliams was elected to the new Northern Ireland Assembly as assembly member for South Belfast. She is a co-founder of the Northern Ireland Women's Coalition (NIWC) political party, which was created to increase the representation of women in the peace talks. Professor McWilliams has published widely on the impact of political conflict on women's lives. She received a B.Sc. from Queens University Belfast and a M.A. in urban planning from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA. Ms. McWilliams is an alumnus of the Salzburg Seminar Peace Symposium, Defining Peace in the Contemporary World, 1998.

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